Monday, August 30, 2004

the olympic games...

"maybe i should try chugging beer instead..."

the art of canadians whining about how "disappointing" olympic medal results were in athens has reached a feverish pitch. it's seems like clockwork. in my memory, it's always been this way. poor canadians were kept off of the gold medal podium in 1976 and 1988 when they were in the homeland. on it goes... (the exception to the rule was in 1984 in los angeles, when we hit the motherload, but those were the olympics where the USSR and eastern bloc allies decided to stay home for the potato harvest.)

i don't know if we should pump more money into "amateur" sports.

maybe we as canadians are just not talented enough. maybe sports ain't our thang. you can't be good at everything. maybe we should just drink beer. we're good at that. i bet we can out chug most of the world except for maybe the aussies.

there's those aussies (hereafter referred to as the "wankas") again. i'm tired of the constant comparisons with the wankas. why can't we pump a billion dollars into sports like they've done? why can't we consolidate our sports federations into "super" training centres like in wankaland? why can't we out think our wanka bruthas? brutal. maybe we need to import more sheep and rename the arctic the "great white outback".

you have to respect the wankas for what they've done at olympic competitions.

here's to a job well done... struth, eh.

i'm envious. struth, again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

watashi wa monkey des...

My japanese name is 猿渡 Saruwatari (monkey on a crossing bridge) 大輝 Taiki (large radiance).
Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

like cakes fly...

the birthday cake...
© 2004

this is the proudest moment of my photographic career. notice how the slice of cake seems to "float" in mid air. notice how the rear sync flash accentuates the cake with an eerie glow, giving the photograph a three dimensional appearance...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

it's all about the bike...

it's not about the bike: my journey back to life.
- lance armstrong

6 time winner of the tour de france (undeniably the most difficult bicycle race on the planet), lance armstrong is to bicycling as wayne gretzky was to hockey, as pele was to soccer, as ed whelan was to hockey broadcasting, as nadia comaneci was to women's gymnastics, as babe ruth was to baseball, as michael jordan was to basketball, as mahatma gandhi was to passive disobedience, as watson and crick was to molecular genetics, as jack the ripper was to mass murderers, as julia childs was to american french chefs.

his achievements are well documented and herculean in scale. he maybe the greatest athlete, ever.

yet, in case you've been living under a rock for the past decade, lance armstrong is very lucky to be alive.

authored by himself, and ghost writer sally jenkins, it's not about the bike: my journey back to life, is a chronology of his life as a young brash american bicyclist. he has everything going for him, living on the proverbial edge, living in the fast lane. until one day he is struck down by cancer. the prognosis is not good. in fact, it sucks (i won't tell you how bad). he fights hard and confronts the disease head on. he undergoes brain surgery. then he suffers incredibly through chemotherapy, detailing each agonizing step. using his biking experiences as a metaphor through out the book, he wins. against all odds and the perception of the biking world, he goes on to win the race of his dreams, the tour de france. the ultimate comeback. the stuff of movies.

well, i'm kind of confused about the book. clearly, it is meant to inspire the reader. however, i found it difficult sometimes to empathize with lance armstrong. maybe i'm just a cold hearted bastard. lance portrays himself as a brash, loudmouth, aggressive, self-serving, arrogant, son of a bitch before cancer is understandable. i think most "successful" athletes must have these attitudes, to have the proverbial "chip" on their shoulders, to carry them to victory. however, naturally i anticipated some softening of these hard edges after his recovery. there's got to be a transformation of some kind to draw in the reader. he's as brash, arrogant, self-serving as before the cancer. maybe it was all about the bike after all. maybe i don't know what the hell i'm talking about.

ok, i'll give the guy a break. not only did cancer ravage him physically, it totally messed with his psyche. there's a whole chapter on "survivorship". in it lance deals with confusion and frustration of figuring what the hell to do after going through hell. give him credit for admitting that he'd be lying if he said that he'd live every day to the fullest after his recovery. all he's after is some normalcy in his life. however, he's racked by doubts about his "normal" life of professional biking and the fear of reoccurrence of the cancer.

maybe this guy is human after all.

the text fleetingly refers to the establishment of his cancer foundation, his closeness with the "cancer community", his charity race in texas, and work with cancer awareness. it would have been nice to devote more time to these aspects of his recovery. it would have served him better. however, the "plot" makes a mad dash to him winning his first "tour". i guess it makes for better book sales.

for the most part, i liked the book. the writing is tight. it's a page turner. it gives a good insight into oncological therapy, the psyche of lance armstrong as a professional athlete/patient/husband/father, and the world of professional biking. i'm not sure whether i'd file this book under sports, biography, medical, or self-help (ugh). i'll leave that up to you.

rating: 3.75 overdue fines out of 5

note: was watching "charlie rose" on pbs today. speak of the devil. yep, lance armstrong was the guest. he seemed to be a nice guy.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

the wasta...

north korea numba one!
© 2004. the wasta.

this western capitalist pig just took my picture. run for our lives!!!
© 2004. the wasta.

rush hour in pyongyang 1.
© 2004. the wasta.

rush hour in pyongyang 2.
© 2004. the wasta.

the big cheese: meesta kim sr.
© 2004. the wasta.

hot south korean chicks.
© 2004. the wasta.

ok, which one of you just sneezed...
© 2004. the wasta.

"wasta" is a term i learned on my last trip to tibet. it applies to a "longterm" traveler. not any longterm traveler. i'm talking about a destitute westerner who seems to be drifting amongst the masses in places like india wasting away his/her life. how can i put it in north american terms? a wasta is a freeloading, wacky smoking bum who wanders from country to country for years and years.

on that same trip i met my friend jonathan smith. he's an english ex-pat living and teaching english in hong kong for years and years. we met in the hunza valley in the very north of pakistan in a paradise called karimabad. he had already spent a few months traveling along the silk road through western china and pakistan. i'm not sure how long he'd been wasting away in the hunza before i met him. all i know was this guy was kind of funny, in an amusing kind of way. one thing led to another (not in that kind of way) and we ended up traveling through the rest of pakistan, northern india and trekking in nepal for something like 2 months. that's a long time.

we managed to hit every museum of ghandaran art in northern pakistan, to get the wool pulled over eyes by a "friendly" doctor in rawalpindi, to dine at the pizza hut in lahore, to make friends with a "tortured" monk in dharamsala, to visit the guru of sikhism in the golden temple in amritsar, to climb mount rakaposhi, to fire off kalashnikovs in dara, to drink ourselves into a stupor in amritsar. never a dull moment.

anyway, i remembered jonathan smoked alot of wacky. traveled alot. vowed never to return to the UK. we laughed at the bums we encountered along the way. he kept calling them wastas. well, i've never heard of that term before. he explained. from that moment on, wanka (murray arthur - a kiwi we happened to pick up along the way) and i would call him the "wasta".

meeting people is obviously the reason why i travel. if there were more jonathan smith's out there, the world would be a better place. he's "stuck" in HK for the next while with his teaching position. he should get the hell out of there.

my tribute is posting some of his travel photos. click here to see more of his photos.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

the decisive moment...

source: magnum photos.

"To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."

"To take a photograph means to recognize – simultaneously and within a fraction of a second– both the fact itself and the rigorous organisation of visually perceived forms that give it meaning."

"It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

tribute to "wailin'" ed whelan...

here it no particular order:

  1. "hello hackey fans..."
  2. "he inadvertently passes the puck..."
  3. "hammer, hammer, hammer..."
  4. "ring-a-ding-dong-dandy..."
  5. "yah baby, yah baby, yah baby, yah baby..."
  6. "it's outta here!"
  7. "touch 'em all!!"
  8. "there's a malfunction at the junction..."
  9. "it ain't over till it's over..."
  10. "the fat lady's singing!"
  11. "tres"
  12. "pretty good for a toupe, eh..."
  13. "he's on the 45, 35, 25, 10, 15, 5, touchdown!!"
  14. "savardian spinnerama..."
  15. "hit's from downtown, jackie brown!!!"
  16. "wham bam thank you ma'am!"
  17. "tweet tweet tomaso..."
  18. "he's got a chair!!!"
  19. "don't touch me!!!"
  20. "cya later alligator..."
  21. "it's not a toupe..."
  22. "he come down the right wing..."
  23. "it's a choke hold!!!"
  24. "someone get in there!!!"
  25. "the flames win the penant, the flames win the penant, the flames win the penant!!!!"
  26. "do you believe in miracles?!!! yes!!!"
  27. "no class bobby bass..."
  28. "sweet daddy siki..."
  29. "mixmaster"
  30. "cuban assassins..."
  31. "bad news allen..."
  32. "laugh all you want, but lots of people love this sport..."
  33. "1, 2, 3!!!"
  34. "blowing the roof off the dump!!!!"
  35. "andre the giant..."
  36. "archie 'the stomper' gouldie..."
  37. "he stops... he pops... it drops!!!!!
  38. "why don't they ice the damn thing!!"
  39. "ship ahoy, ed."
  40. "in the meantime and in between time... that's another edition of stampede wrestling!"